Selfies, selfies, selfies!
Selfies have become more and more popular over the past few years. So much so, that the Oxford Dictionary added the word “selfie” in 2014. The new selfie-loving generation, has created the need for numerous selfie-centered products: selfie sticks, timers, remotes, photo hosting sites, editing apps, and more, all because people love their selfies and want them to look perfect, or as near to perfect as we mere mortals can get.
Enter the cosmetics industry. CoverGirl has checked the performance of their foundations in different lighting for years. They test the color accuracy under bright sun, florescent bulbs, and now they check for iPhone compatibility. Sarah Vickery, CoverGirl’s principal scientist told the New York Times, “[they’ve] got one type of consumer who is constantly taking pictures, and what reall matter to her and her social group is how she looks in a selfie. It’s something we really have to pay attention to.”
Catering to the selfie generation
CoverGirl isn’t the only brand catering to the selfie generation, though: Avon, Smashbox, and others have created products to enhance the selfie. CoverGirl went through 40 formulations of mascara before finding one that they deemed to be selfie-worthy. Avon also claims to have gone through hundreds of brushes before finding one that would give the user volume, as well as place the fibers on straight. Smashbox and CoverGirl both went through similar trials and tribulations concerning the creation of the “perfect” foundation. Selfies are obviously a pretty important marketing consideration if brands are going through all these tests to find “the perfect product.”
The impact of selfies is not limited to the cosmetic consumer, however. Instagram is littered with business owners and makeup aficionados looking for the hottest new thing. As the New York Times states, “how makeup looks on social media can radically affect its sales.” The NYT used an example from Instagram user Dose of Colors. They posted a picture of their Black Rose liquid matte lipstick from an avant garde beauty chain Ricky’s NYC and “every last piece sold in a matter of days.” This is the power of makeup and the power of social media. He scours Instagram daily, looking for new brands to stock.
This begs the question: have we become so obsessed with appearance, or how others perceive our appearance, that we will buy a product based on how “selfie-boosting” it is, rather than shopping around for something we truly like (as opposed to what is being heavily marketed)?